Michael Conforto not likely to be sent to the minors

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Mets outfielder Michael Conforto made a big splash last year, posting an .841 OPS with nine homers in 56 games and then going 5-for-15 with two homers and five RBI in the World Series. Entering 2016 he was supposed to be a key cog in New York’s offense.

And he started out that way this season, hitting .365/.442/.676 with four homers and 18 RBI in the season’s first month. Since then, however, Conforto is batting just .157 with a .533 OPS in 146 plate appearances. The Mets offense has been a disaster in that time, largely because of injuries, but also because Conforto is simply not hitting. There has been talk of sending him down to Triple-A for a while so he can get his head screwed back on.

Not gonna happen, says Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. At least not yet. Mets manager Terry Collins didn’t totally dismiss the idea, but Rubin hears from his sources that Conforto is unlikely to be sent down as part of a roster shakeup.

The Mets are 21-25 in May and June and are 5.5 games back of the Nationals right now. The Marlins are actually tied with them. There’s still a long way to go this year and, of course, the Mets were all but written off with similar roster and offensive challenges as late as late July last year, but you figure something big will happen soon with them. Whether it’s with Conforto or other parts of the roster.

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.